The success of the R-MAX unmanned helicopter system from Yamaha Motor Company in the civilian marketplace (mainly farm/agricultural spraying) has led to the company to join forces in 2014 with American defense powerhouse Northrop Grumman to develop a more versatile special-market form to cover a wider band of industries including military and security. The result is the "R-BAT" (Rotary-BAT) system designed around the concept of rapid response for the purposes of reconnaissance, scouting, and Search and Rescue (SAR) sorties. The versatility of the air system allows it to take-off and land virtually anywhere and operate in areas generally found to be inhospitable to ground forces such as troops and firefighters. Beyond its obvious military value, the helicopter can also be called upon to fulfill border patrol / border control requirements and serve in humanitarian / disaster relief operations.
R-BAT retains much of the form and function of the earlier R-MAX which was developed during the 1990s. The streamlined fuselage is used to house the powerplant, fuel stores, and avionics fit. A camera/sensor-laden blister pack is set in the fuselage's chin position offering 360-degree traversal and real-time relay of information. Over the top of the fuselage is a two-bladed main rotor unit and a two-bladed tail rotor unit is offset to the starboard side at the aircraft's aft end. A tail stem houses the drive system for this rear unit. The undercarriage is a four-point, twin-skid component allowing for operation from just about any surface.
Unlike the R-MAX, which is remotely-operated through Line-of-Sight (LoS), the R-BAT is completed with an autonomous control scheme. Flight testing was had out of the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.
Performance specs of the air system include a mission endurance window of over four hours, a maximum ceiling up to 6,000 feet, and a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 95lb. Payload capacity is limited to 43 lb.
As far as is known, the R-BAT continues to be actively marketed by the company.